On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

Exemplary Teaching Activities

Beginning in 2011, On the Cutting Edge began a process to review the extensive collection of activities submitted by workshop participants and members of the geoscience community. The Review Processes page illuminates the details of the peer review process, and the activities are scored on 5 elements: scientific veracity; alignment of goals, activity, and assessment; pedagogical effectiveness; robustness; and completeness of the ActivitySheet. The activities that score very highly in these areas become part of the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection and are featured below. To date, activities in the mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, environmental geology, structural geology, geophysics, and tectonics areas have been reviewed so the exemplary collection is composed of activities from these topics. As the review of additional areas is completed, exemplary activities from the rest of the collection will be included here.


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Estimating Exchange Rates of Water in Embayments using Simple Budget Equations. part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Keith Sverdrup, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Simple budgets may be used to estimate the exchange of water in embayments that capitalize on the concept of steady state and conservation principals. This is especially true for bays that experience a significant exchange of freshwater. This exchange of freshwater may reduce the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if it involves addition of freshwater from rivers, R, and/or precipitation, P. Alternatively, it may increase the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if there is relatively little river input and high evaporation, E. Since freshwater input changes the salt concentration in the bay, and salt is a conservative material, it is possible to combine two steady state budgets for a bay, one for salt and one for water, to solve for the magnitude of the water flows that enter and exit the bay mouth. Students will make actual calculations for the inflow and outflow of water to Puget Sound, Washington and the Mediterranean Sea and compare them to actual measured values.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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